Iowa’s criminal transmission of HIV law revised

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill that made Iowa the first state in the country to repeal and revise its criminal transmission of HIV law.

According to a report by The Gazette, on Friday, May 30, 2014 Branstad approved a revision to a law from 1998 that imposed a 25-year prison sentence on someone who does not disclose their HIV status to a sexual partner, even if no transmission occurred. Under the old law people convicted were also included on the sex offender registry.

The changes that Branstad signed into law place a 25-year prison sentence only when someone intends to transmit a disease without their partner’s knowledge.

Senate File 2297 takes a common-sense approach to transmission of contagious or infectious disease and modernizes Iowa’s approach to the transmission of HIV,” Branstad said before signing the bill, according to the report. “I know advocates have worked on this legislation for many years and without the tenacity of the advocates and their stick-to-it attitude, this legislation may not have gotten done.”

The revised law utilizes a tiered penalty system, reported the Gazette, which looks at whether or not a person took precautions, whether or not a disease was actually transmitted, and if transmission was intended by the infected person. The old requirement of being placed on the sex offender registry was taken away and those that are listed on it for prior convictions under the old law will be taken off the registry.

The revised law includes other diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, and meningococcal disease.

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